Delta’s domestic first-class seats on board an Airbus A321neo.

Data analytics firm JD Power released its annual airline customer satisfaction study on Wednesday.Delta rated best first/business and premium economy cabins. Southwest won for best economy cabin.Overall, the study found traveler satisfaction driven most by desire for a safe and easy experience.

Delta Air Lines has reclaimed its crown as passengers’ No. 1 pick for its first/business class, according to JD Power’s newest airline rankings.

Delta regained the top spot after coming in second last year to JetBlue Airways. JetBlue fell to second place this year, followed by United Airlines.

JD Power released the annual North American Airline Satisfaction Study on Wednesday. It gauged consumer sentiment toward 11 major airlines in the US and Canada across three categories: first/business class, premium economy class, and economy/basic economy.

Delta’s premium economy class claimed the top spot for the second year in a row, with Alaska Airlines in second place and American Airlines in third. Last year’s runner’s up, JetBlue, dropped to fourth place.

Southwest Airlines took top honors in the economy/basic economy segment for the third consecutive year, followed by Delta for the second year in a row. Allegiant Air finished in third place, up three spots from last year.

Air Canada, on the other hand, ranked last in customer satisfaction in the first/business class and premium economy categories. For the second consecutive year, Frontier Airlines finished last in the economy/basic economy segment with Spirit Airlines ranked one spot ahead.

JD Power also highlighted some other takeaways from the survey — specifically, how staffing and media attention can influence airline rankings.

“The big takeaway from this year’s study is the power of people to positively influence the overall flight experience,” said JD Power senior managing director Michael Taylor in a statement.”Airlines that are investing in staff training and recruitment are finding ways to overcome the negative effects of crowded gates and planes simply by being nice to their customers.”

The study also found that trust and ease of travel have superseded price as key driving factors for consumer satisfaction. According to JD Power, what’s most important to customers, beyond the cost of a ticket, is simply to have a safe, drama-free flight.

Media coverage can significantly affect consumer trust in airlines, as well, the survey found. JD Power said consumers who reported seeing negative media coverage of an airline rated it much lower than others in terms of trust.

JD Power’s 2024 study is based on responses from 9,582 passengers who had flown on a major North American airline within the previous month of completing the survey, which was conducted between March 2023 and March 2024.

Here’s a closer look at how the 11 major North American airlines fared in each segment of the study.

First/business class
The DeltaOne cabin on board an Airbus A330-900neo.

First/business class customer satisfaction ranking (score out of 1,000 points)

Delta Air Lines (743)JetBlue Airways (736)United Airlines (698)Alaska Airlines (695)American Airlines (676)Air Canada (629)

Segment average: 701

Premium economy
Delta Premium Select international premium economy seats on board an Airbus A330-900neo.

Premium economy class customer satisfaction ranking (score out of 1,000 points)

Delta Air Lines (716)Alaska Airlines (687)American Airlines (684)JetBlue Airways (667)WestJet (664)United Airlines (641)Air Canada (628)

Segment average: 675

Economy/basic economy
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737MAX8 cabin

Economy/basic economy class customer satisfaction ranking (score out of 1,000 points)

Southwest Airlines (685)Delta Air Lines (651)Allegiant Air (633)(Tie) Alaska Airlines (630)(Tie) JetBlue Airways (630)American Airlines (611)WestJet (591)United Airlines (585)Air Canada (542)Spirit Airlines (507)Frontier Airlines (472)

Segment average: 613

Read the original article on Business Insider

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